A Unicycle Lesson – Unicyclist Skill Levels
Have you just begun to learn how to ride a unicycle? Perhaps you are already an accomplished unicyclist? Just exactly how accomplished are you though? A byproduct of being human is that it's in our nature to want to know how we “measure up” against others in our activities and endeavors.
The Unicycling Society Of America (or USA) has created a list consisting of ten levels of achievement for unicyclists. One could compare the method of progression through the levels to the various “belt” colors that are earned in many martial arts disciplines. The list not only acts as an official measuring stick (which of course can also serve as a source for some good natured bragging), it can also help to provide the inspiration that some riders may need in order to continue to push themselves to improve upon their skills, and progress to the next level.
The USA has trained officials in many areas of the United States and Canada who can both test your skill level, and have the results entered into the Unicycling Society of America database. Their website lists affiliated unicycle clubs. If you are in an area that has no clubs or certified testers, fear not. If you have a friend that also rides, providing that you are both members in good standing of the USA, each of you can witness testing one another and submit your results up to level three. Badges are also available for each level attained. A level three rider is quite advanced so if you have a new club, there will be ample time to get someone trained at the North American Unicycle Championships and Convention (NAUCC) to be a certified tester for those levels higher than level three.
Although I haven't taken the course, I expect that it would be a fantastic way of learning some of the intricacies of riding, and of course to further promote this relatively obscure, but interesting and fun activity.
If you are curious about the skill levels, I'd encourage a visit to the USA website . Relatively few casual riders progress much beyond level two or three. Essentially levels one and two involve basic riding and control skills and should be achievable by most unicyclists with a few weeks or months of riding experience. Level three is much more advanced and includes skills such as hopping and riding backwards.
Unicycling, as with any non mainstream individual sport or activity often struggles to keep its participants engaged and progressing in their skills. The Unicycling Skills List is a great tool in that it not only provides motivation, but also a logical progression of skill sets.